Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance

For Cammell, the ultimate performance, of course, was to shoot himself (only to remain lucid for some while as he spoke to his wife China before dying): a shocking but strangely appropriate end for the writer/co-director of Performance. He had led a dramatic life - a precocious painter, a charismatic sexual adventurer and a member of fashionable/arty sets in Paris and London during the Swinging '60s, a reclusive exile in LA occasionally hanging out with the likes of Kenneth Anger and (less happily) Brando - but was he, finally, an underachiever? Post-Performance, his career was littered with uneven or unmade films, and perhaps one can't blame others for being wary of his artistic risk-taking, his abiding interest in sexuality, violence and death, Crowley and Borges, and some of his near mystical ideas. He may have had a dissociative personality, someone says here. This excellent documentary is enthusiastic but never hagiographic. At its core lies the fascinating history of Performance - a movie that looks even more insanely uncompromising now than when it first appeared.

Release details

Duration: 75 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Chris Rodley, Kevin Macdonald
Cast: James Fox
Mick Jagger
Nicolas Roeg
Kenneth Anger
Cathy Moriarty
Barbara Steele
Johnny Shannon
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